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Constitutional Convention Discussion Heating Up

During recent weeks, discussions about whether or not to convene a Constitutional Convention (ConCon) are increasing, and will certainly hit full stride after Labor Day, when traditional politicking kicks in. Last week, Governor Cuomo made clear that he opposes having a ConCon. For additional reading click on the Constitutional Convention link.

Here are a few more questions and answers regarding a potential ConCon.

Convention Finances- Where does the money come from?

  • The legislature is responsible for appropriating the funds to pay for the costs associated with the convention. Delegates are paid the same amount as is paid to current legislators ($79,000). Staff would be needed to assist the convention in its deliberations.

How much would a convention cost?

  • We know that the 1967 convention cost $10M, and if that same convention were held now, it would cost approximately $75M, when adjusted for inflation. There most likely would be additional staff and other expenses beyond what occurred 50 years ago. It is not unreasonable to assume that a convention would cost $100M, or more.

And, there is no way of knowing when a convention would end. Delegates can stay convened until their “work is completed”.

Is there a commission in place to identify issues prior to having a convention?

  • Governor Cuomo had proposed this item in the 2016-2017 Executive Budget, but it was deleted by the legislature. He did not propose anything this year, and now opposes a convention.

There is no comprehensive list of issues that a convention should consider.

Have state officials taken a position on convening a convention?

  • Governor Cuomo, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins all oppose it. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb supports holding a convention
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